The trial

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

19 September 2013

The horror, the horror...

It had been raining, it had been windy. The pitch was green and wide, green and long, luscious and beautiful; a carpet upon which dainty dancers could delight. A perfect night, a perfect pitch and the Town 500 expected. Expected what?

Town lined up in the heroically successful, entertaining and extremely popular 4-3-3 formation as follows: McKeown, Bignot, Pearson, McDonald, Goodall, Kerr, Thanoj, McLaughlin, Rodman, John-Lewis, Neilson. The substitutes were Doig, Jones the Beard, Colbeck, Hannah and Cook.

We've finally gotten to play the Shay Stadium. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

First half: Empty spaces (what shall we do?)

Town kicked off towards the massed ranks of the several dozen Shaymen with a careless misplaced pass and a hoofless hope, or was that a carefully placed missed pass and hopeless hoof?



They run, they pass, they cross, they shoot, they head. They are footballers. They are Halifax, we are drowning in a desert of deathly shallows.

Bognit ducked and a blueboy noodled wide. Bognit disappeared. I wish he would.

As a blueboy swayed his hips, Thanoj and the invisible man dipped their Doritos in some supermarket salsa. Something terribly disappointing should have happened, but didn't. Goodall missed a long punt, danger was diverted by accident. McKeown flapped; McDonald and Pearson had a tiff. A free header here, a cross-shot there. Twisty-turny trifles in a pudding of Townite despair.

Holes. Vast chasms of emptiness filled with blue. This glacier was melting, this is radioactive decay in real time. We're shopping for similes at

There is no Town midfield, just puddles. There is no Town defence, just muddles. The Unhappy Shopper atop was a knock-kneed bumblefest of fumbling pratfalls. This is the new normal, with knobs on.

Holes. Vast chasms of emptiness filled with blue. This glacier was melting, this is radioactive decay in real time. We're shopping for similes at Never mix your metaphors and similes: it's a car crash.

Eventually, finally, at last, the gentle dominatrix smacked Town's bottom. A lump down their right, an offside not given. A half clearance: Town caught in the half-life and half-light. Smith strumbled artfully without molestation, jinking between non-tackles by Goodall and McLaughlin, part of our virtual footballer collection. A dink was dinked, Burgerboy crumpled and Carver arose alone four yards out, dead centre, to nod down.


Fast forward, repeat inaction. A Yorkshire wallop half cleared by Pearson. Blueboys wombling free, making good use of the things that they find. Gardner jingle-jangle-jinked past the curdling Kerr and crinkled low across McKeown just inside the right post.


Fast forward, repeat inaction several times. The unhappy three wheeled and Shopping Trolley cleared for the Shaymen. A controlled wallop to blueboy surrounded by a threesome on the halfway line. What possible danger could there be? A simple turn past a trio of tosh and a pass threaded inside Bognit, outside Burgerboy. McKeown swished left, the ball ricocheted back to Gardner. Open goal, open season.


The Town five hundred? Dwindling by the second, calling out three simple numbers: 4-4-2. The Little Caesar played his joker: a double substitution and Town moved to 4-4-2. Neilson and Thanoj were hauled off, Jones the Beard and Hannah ran on like puppies to the slaughter.


Halifax stopped carving the chicken. Town moved towards appearing professional, the mirage of a chimera. A free kick, a header. Going towards the Halifax goal. Surely it can't be? Yes, yes, yes, it is! A shot! A standing ovation.

It was the first, the last, the everything of Town's first half. Half time: a standing ovation for Town. Halifax deserved it.

How to rescue this? Only one option: the Sleaford solution.

Second half: Waiting for the worms

Neither team made any changes at half time. Shorty was still manager.

Two minutes of mundane muddling dissolved into mirthless merriment for the locals as Jones the Beard kneed a Burgerboy pass directly to a blueboy, who tickled his coconuts into the Pacific Ocean where Goodall wasn't paddling. Smith sauntered and swayed highly across McKeown into the far right corner.

Stick or twist? Why should Halifax bother.

Blah-blah-blah. Jones pin-pricked a free kick wiffily wide. Why, oh why, oh why?

Bognit was knitted into a clown and some lad smuggled a crackler across Jamie Mack and against the far post. Carver bamboozled a header down from a corner. Jamie Mack magnificently sprung and hand wafted away.

You know, their forwards were a lot smaller than our centre-backs. Sometimes our lot headed it.

The rest of the game? Hail Ross Hannah, a one man effort-a-thon. He even ran after the ball when it went out of play. Hannah hooked high, Hannah spun and sprinkled lowly awakening their keeper from his slumbers. What a good save. Colbeck crossed, Glennon flapped, Hannah shot and the ball rolled up off Glennon's knees and back into his grapefruit arms.

Does anyone care any more? Well done for getting this far without selling the house, selling the car, selling the fridge, selling the family and moving to a mobile home in Madagascar

Oh sorry, Joltin' Joe, the non-League Milner, had replaced someone with colourful boots. Rodman, probably. He tried too, doing crosses and things. Lennell John-Lewis's toes approached a particularly dangerous dipper as the ball zippled through the six-yard box. I said 'approached': that's as good as it gets – the hint of a suggestion of potentially touching the ball.

Does anyone care any more? Well done for getting this far without selling the house, selling the car, selling the fridge, selling the family and moving to a mobile home in Madagascar. A blue free kick near, another free kick less near, another free kick even further and farther. Jones the Beard passed behind curdling Kerr and some blueboy ran off to waft high and wide. And again, later, something similar. And again. Town's back four comprised Pearson and Burgerboy having a hissy tiff in the middle of the road while traffic passed by honking horns to the tune of Tijuana Taxi.

For the Town five hundred yet another waste of time, money and emotion. An insulting mirage, a passionless parody of professionalism. Dreams turned into dust and were blown away as Town came fourth in a one-horse race.

And so, in the end, we came to the conclusion that we have to bury the new Little Caesar, not praise him.

This was an apocalypse. Now.